Fields of Green: Weighing the Options

For some, the term “landscape” immediately evokes imagery of rolling green hills and acres of lush lawn, to be painstakingly manicured week after week. For others, the thought of keeping up with such an undertaking may be tempered with strong reservations. 

The fact is, lawn maintenance is no small task to tackle. 

Perhaps the most important tip is to mow correctly, grooming healthy grass that remains both drought tolerant and thick enough to crowd out weeds. Ideally, no more than one-third of the blade should be removed with each cutting, as grass that’s too short will ultimately lead to a poorly developed root system. 

Mower height can—and should—be adjusted throughout the season; taller grass in the summer allows for increased shade on the soil, which in turn, slows water evaporation and equips the blades to withstand drought-like conditions far better. Cutting when the grass is dry is recommended, as wet clumps tend to clog the mower. If possible, avoid mowing in full sun, as shadier conditions place less stress on the grass. 

Technically speaking, maintenance is just as important for the mower as the grass it cuts. Dull, jagged blades create openings for pests and diseases to enter the grass, which ultimately cause long-term damage to the landscape. Similarly, take care not to mow in the same direction each time, as this repetition will compact soil and create ruts. 

If your idea of a dream backyard includes spaces for entertaining, cooking, lounging and play time, then perhaps endless fields of green aren’t your cup of tea. 

Masonry, which incorporates the use of materials such as rock, stone, concrete and pavers, can bring a great deal of value to landscape design. Those who may have trouble growing grass or plants due to poor soil composition may welcome this smooth, lower-maintenance alternative. Using high-quality components and thoughtfully working them into your layout works to both cut down on the need for weekly upkeep and create natural focal points within your yard.